Portugal were one of the star teams at the recent World Cup, surprising and enthralling fans from around the world.
Their World Cup campaign saw them defeat future quarter-finalists Fiji, draw with Six Nations hopefuls Georgia, and push both established Tier 1 sides Wales and Australia close to the mark.
Such has been their impact on the global community, many fans have been calling for their inclusion in more high profile matches outside of the World Cup window.
Well, that’s exactly what appears to be on the cards, as Portugal have announced their upcoming match against England A in February.
England A are BACK! 🌹
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 7, 2023
England A, formerly known as the Saxons, are England’s second choice team – often consisting of up and coming stars, players on the brink of first team selection, and older players that bring a wealth of international experience.
This match has been met with great anticipation and excitement from fans, with many having jumped on the underdog bandwagon during the recent tournament.
Such was the impact that Portugal had in their first ever World Cup, this subsequent fixture at Welford Road is expected to be a sellout.
Conor O’Shea, RFU Executive Director of Performance Rugby, commented on the prospect of the Iberian nation as the first opponents of England A in over seven years.
“It brings us great excitement to be renewing our A side in 2024, historically it has been a platform for some of the country’s next best players to showcase their talent whilst representing England,
“Portugal demonstrated their capabilities as a rugby nation on the world stage in recent months with their attacking flair and passion – we can’t wait for more of that in the new year! They are a team possessing many bright stars for the future and are a befitting opponent for our A squad.
“England Rugby wants to be part of providing gametime and mutual collaboration for emerging nations such as Portugal, who have a great deal to offer to the game and I’m sure both they and our A side will gain a lot from February’s match. This builds on partnerships we have with other nations and are looking to develop further links with other emerging unions.”